France presidential election: Candidates’ families play roles in success

Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen, the two candidates now headed to a May 7 runoff vote in France’s presidential election, have risen from unusual backgrounds to oust establishment politicians from the race.

Macron, 39, who led Le Pen with 23 percent of Sunday’s vote, is the centrist former French Minister of the Economy, Finance and Industry.

If he wins in May, he would become the youngest president in French history. He would also be the first president in France’s current republican system of government to enter office not belonging to a major party, according to the BBC. Macron, who earned 8.4 million votes during the weekend, was the economy minister for current President Francois Hollande before leaving to form the liberal En Marche party.

Considered to be the front-runner to become France’s next president, Macron is married to a woman 24 years his senior. In 2007 he married Brigitte Trogneux, his former high school teacher. Macron met his future wife when he was attending the same Catholic school where Trogneux taught.

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Despite initial opposition from Macron’s parents, Trogneux and Macron continued their relationship and married after Trogneux divorced her husband. Macron is a stepfather to Trogneux’s three children and a step-grandfather to her seven grandchildren.

“Nobody would call it unusual if the age difference was reversed,” Macron has said, according to Reuters. “People find it difficult to accept something that is sincere and unique,” he stated.

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Le Pen’s familial ties have also been a topic of discussion, albeit for different reasons, as she’s sought to distance herself from her controversial father.

Le Pen, the 48-year-old head of France’s far-right National Front party, earned 21 percent of the vote.

Her father, Jean-Marie, founded the party in 1972 before his daughter took control in 2011. She secured 7.6 million votes on Sunday, marking the strongest result ever for a candidate in the party. Her tally was 2.8…

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